“The guys that aren’t playing tough, they know who they are,” said Iverson. “I’m not going to point out an individual on my team because that’s not fair. I wouldn’t want them to do it to me. The way I say things should be enough.”
With Philadelphia set to meet the Los Angeles Lakers at the Wachovia Center, the NBA’s leading scorer hopes the rest of the Sixers take his words to heart.
Following Philadelphia’s 93-80 loss to the Toronto Raptors on Tuesday, its ninth defeat in 11 games, Iverson delivered an impassioned plea for the Sixers to get tougher.
“We’ve been a good team for six years. Then this year, we don’t have a sense of urgency,” said Iverson, who scored 36 points. “We see that we’re down in the standings, not in the playoffs right now, trying to fight uphill, and we’re not taking the challenge.”
Iverson, however, was quick to point out that he is not placing any blame on first-year coach Randy Ayers.
“You can’t put that on a coach,” he said. “He doesn’t go out there and play, not one minute of the game. He can only do so much.”
While the Sixers are in turmoil, the Lakers hope they’ve put their recent struggles behind them.
Shaquille O’Neal, back in the lineup after a league-imposed one-game suspension for profanely criticizing officials during a live TV interview, led the Lakers with a season-high 37 points and 12 rebounds.
O’Neal also said he was not sorry for his comments following the Lakers’ 84-83 win over the Toronto Raptors on Sunday.
“I said what I felt,” he said. “You can never control me. I’m a 31-year-old juvenile delinquent. No one can control me.”
Gary Payton added a season-high 30 points as the Lakers improved to 2-1 on a seven-game trip—the club’s longest since 1992. Payton needs two steals to move past Clyde Drexler into fifth place on the all-time list. He has 2,206 during his 14-year career.